Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year’s resolutions, you ask?

Yes, I do make New Year’s resolutions each year. I’m a cantankerous contrarian about many things—but not this one. Conventional though it may be, I regard the practice of setting New Year’s resolutions as worthwhile—indeed essential.

If you don’t define what you want to do this year, you have little chance of doing it.

But what is so special about January 1st? you may ask.

The New Year is, strictly speaking, a completely arbitrary date. You could just as easily pick May 15th or August 12th as your annual date for “starting over”. (Many corporations, by the way, begin their fiscal years on dates within the calendar year—such as October 1st or April 1st.)

If you want to pick another date, that’s your prerogative, obviously. However, January 1st is as good a date as any, and it’s likely the best date, all things being equal. The idea of the New Year as a new beginning is culturally programmed into most of us. Moreover, it falls after the annual holiday hiatus. So this is a good time to “start fresh”.

During my years in the corporate world, I was exposed to many ideas and practices that I regarded as wasteful, counterproductive, or downright silly.

However, I was also exposed to some ideas and practices that I know will benefit me for the rest of my life.

One of these is the practice of conducting regular, scheduled evaluations of (recent) past performance, along with the establishment of new goals for the upcoming period.

This is a process that I go through every year.

So what are my 2014 reflections and 2015 goals? Oh, I’m not sure it will really benefit you to know mine. What is more important is that you reflect on what you have accomplished (or not) over the past 12 months, and set a clear list of items that you want to achieve during the next 12 months.

For many people, the New Year doesn't officially kick off until next Monday, January 5th. This is the first working day of the first full week of 2015.


So you still have time to get organized, if you’re unclear about where the last 12 months have taken you, and where you’d like to be by 1/1/2016.